CHARLESTON - After a lengthy hearing, which included a recess where U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston reviewed information and questions that came out during the hearing, former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
“As a prosecutor, his (Sparks) job is to serve the public and protect the public, and he failed,” Johnston said. “Once again a message needs to go out to all political leaders in the state, especially those in Mingo County, that such actions will result in penalty and punishment.”
Johnston added that, if he could have sentenced Sparks to more than 12 months, he would have done so. Because he had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, however, that was not possible.
“The crime is a crime against our system itself. Corruption must come to an end in Mingo County and Southern West Virginia,” Johnston said.
Sparks, who was accompanied to the hearing by his visibly distraught wife, will serve his sentence at a federal prison camp in Manchester, Ky. He was also given a $500 fine and one year of supervised release.
The case was presented by U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby and U.S. Attorney Assistant Haleigh Dunne.